Let’s face it although the average height of the UK female is 5’3”, there is an ever increasing rise in the new, taller, ‘glamazon’ women. I, myself, am the dizzying height of 6’1” (and a half, which I always play down). Although pretty much every person I meet in the street gushes “my goodness, aren’t your legs long!” and I can prove to be immensely useful in the supermarket for old ladies, “can you just reach that lightbulb from the top shelf lovie?”, there is something I really struggle with: finding clothes that fit my proportions. The issue with being tall is that clothes are just not going to sit in the same place as they would on the ‘Miss Average’ five foot three woman. Waistlines sit around my bust, the ‘regular’ trouser length ends halfway down my calf and jumper sleeves finish just below my elbow. Not quite the well-tailored look I aim for. As the height of women rises, should the availability for ‘tall ranges’ on the highstreet continue to rise also? What’s more, should they consider tall women to not be 5’8” and above, but actually 6’ and above?
Take for example, trousers. I need a new pair of reasonably priced, tailored, office trousers. Just simple, black, straight leg. Should be easy, no? Apparently not, as I have a 36” inside leg. Topshop do a ‘tall range’ which cater for this leg length, and the ability to choose a waist size to accompany is brilliant. Yet – no plain black work trousers. Some jazzy cigarette pants that are patterned beautifully, but these smart trousers don’t cater for a 36” leg specifically, just someone 5’8” and above. Which is still considerably shorter than I.
River Island’s smart trousers are all capped at Regular, which is a 30” leg, and don’t even get me started on H&M. Trying to wriggle myself into their trousers is a fine sight to behold. This means that the trousers don’t fit me anywhere else either – not around the waist, the seat is too short, and generally, no. Not working.
There are some highlights of the highstreet which have made my life easier. New Look have a tall section, whose jeans are very good. But what’s more is that they have a range of smart work trousers, including a peg leg and straight leg, and for under £20.
Next have really excelled in my expectations. Although they stop at a 35”, this is still considerably better than the ‘regular’ most shops have. Hooray! I have bought the perfect pair of black, tailored trousers for £20. Brilliant. And they are long enough. However, I feel a bit…abnormal as this ‘tall’ range is THREE leg lengths longer than ‘Regular’. It is longer than ‘Long’ and ‘Extra Long’. So essentially, my legs are a freak of nature.
The catwalk caters to leggy ladies so now it’s high time the highstreet followed suit (pardon the pun)
Left to right: Prabal Gurung, Ralph lauren, jason Wu, Yes Saint Laurent
Finding an essential piece of office wear shouldn’t be this difficult for any woman on the highstreet. The provision should be there for women who are 6’ and over, and we shouldn’t feel alienated either. Although tall sections are around, they are not extensive enough, nor actually targeting the true ‘tall’ women! Please highstreet, please, with ever increasing numbers of us tall ladies, start catering for us.
By Jessica Moffatt-Owen